Tag Archives: weather

Living in the Midwest: How Does it Differ from the West Coast?

By Tara Khan

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3.5 minute read]

Whenever I tell people that I’m from North Dakota, I usually get a ton of questions. “Woah! What do people do for fun there?” or “Where even is that?” are the most typical ones. I was born and raised in Fargo, a town in North Dakota less than 4 hours away from the Canadian border. A few years ago, my family moved to the West Coast. After living here for a while, I’ve noticed there are many differences between the two regions, and so I’ve come to understand why people who aren’t from the Midwest might have so many questions about it. I’ve broken these differences down into 5 categories here in order to highlight what life is like living in the Midwest!

Weather: The most obvious difference between the Midwest and the West Coast is the weather. Most places in the Midwest have four seasons, with winters that are harsh and cold, and summers that are milder and warmer. However, no matter where you live in the Midwest you are pretty much guaranteed to get snow. In Fargo, there’s always snow on the ground throughout the winter months. One year, I remember it snowing as late as May and as early as October. Temperatures also regularly reach sub-zero, and even into the -20s in Fahrenheit sometimes in January. In the summers, temperatures would generally stay in the 80s and low 90s, never really reaching over 100F.

Photo by Ethan Hu on Unsplash

Food: In terms of food, places in the Midwest don’t have quite as much variety as the West Coast, as the population sizes tend to not be quite as large. When I lived in Fargo, there were only 2-3 options for things like sushi or Chinese food. People there tend to eat home cooked meals; casseroles and hot dishes are a Midwestern staple. At potlucks or holiday parties, there are sometimes traditional foods served. Due to North Dakota’s large Norwegian population, lefse, a type of flatbread, is a food I saw at most celebrations. I even helped my friend’s family prepare it one year for their Thanksgiving dinner.

Activities: Many midwestern families have “lake homes” which they visit on the weekends. People enjoy going fishing, having cookouts, or having bonfires. During the winter months, winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding are quite popular. Ice hockey is also a sport that some children play growing up. For some families, Sundays and Wednesdays are considered “church day” and “church night.” Many businesses, particularly local ones, close on Sundays. When I was in school growing up, we would usually not have after school activities on Wednesdays.

Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

People: “Midwest nice” is a common term used to describe midwestern people. People are generally very friendly and neighborly. During the winter, it’s not uncommon to see neighbors shoveling each other’s driveways or helping each out out with various things, and at public places such as the grocery store, people will frequently stop to chat with each other. Since living on the West Coast, I have noticed that people still have a friendly demeanor but aren’t quite as talkative as the people in the Midwest.


Transportation/lifestyle: Cars are the main method of transportation throughout the Midwest, as there are not a lot of established large public transportation systems. Walking and biking aren’t popular options due to the harsh winters. The age to obtain a license varies by State, but it is generally lower than in other regions of the country. In North Dakota, you can obtain a learner’s permit at age 14, and a license at age 15. The age for getting a job is also 14, though there are child labor laws in place to protect those under 16.

Photo by Marie-Michèle Bouchard on Unsplash

Whether or not you ever live in the Midwest, I think it definitely worth visiting at least once, especially during the winter. The weather is pretty much like how it is in the movies: freezing cold, but magical. Just make sure to dress warm and you will get to enjoy experiencing some home cooked Midwestern food and friendly people!

Featured Image by Nathan Fertig on Unsplash

Tara is a freshman majoring in Biomedical Engineering on the pre-med track. She grew up in Fargo, North Dakota and Las Vegas, Nevada. She speaks English, Thai, and elementary level Spanish. Tara is involved in Taekwondo Club at USC. In her free time, she likes to solve Rubik’s cubes, play guitar and ukulele, and play with her dog, Tofu. Tara also loves traveling and learning about different cultures, especially through food! One of her favorite things about living in LA is the large amount of food options available; she is always willing to give great restaurant recommendations.

My Concert Catastrophe-How to Survive Live Concerts

By Anahi Terrazas

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[4.5 minute read]

Prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, concert-going was one of my favorite pastimes. I’ve been to multiple concerts over the past couple of years (my favorite arguably being the One Direction concert). One of my favorite artists is also Harry Styles, so you can imagine my excitement when I learned that he would be performing during Super Bowl weekend in Miami.

As soon as I heard he would be performing in Miami, I bought tickets—mind you, I didn’t know anyone that I could go to the concert with, so I messaged a girl that I had met at the Women’s March and added on Instagram weeks prior to the concert. It turned out that she was also going to be attending the concert and didn’t have anyone to go with, so we made a plan to meet up at the venue. The concert was approximately a 40-50 minute drive from where I was attending school prior to transferring to USC.

The concert was at 8 pm, but it was open seating, so to get a good seat you had to arrive early. I got there promptly at 5 am the day of the concert. I had driven from Parkland, Florida to Miami. The venue was built specifically for Super Bowl weekend and it was basically on an island that did not have any parking, so in order to arrive you had to park somewhere in downtown Miami and Uber to the venue (this is an important detail for later). I very excitedly arrived at Miami and by around 6:15 am I was standing in line with my friend from the Women’s March.

Standing in line outside the venue at around 6:30 am

While waiting in line, everything was seemingly normal; we made friends with the girls in line with us and chatted about how excited we were. However, when the clock hit 7:30 pm and we still weren’t allowed into the venue, I started to question what was happening. We were eventually led into the venue at around 8:30 pm, and though I was incredibly tired because I had been awake since 4 am, the rush of being able to see Harry Styles perform kept me from getting too impatient. Mark Ronson, a DJ, was the first opening act and by around 10:30 pm, Lizzo, the second opening act, started performing.

My view of the stage once inside the venue

Though I had been to many concerts before, I had never experienced the main act starting so late. After Lizzo’s performance, time passed and there was still no sign of Harry Styles getting on stage. At this point everyone in the pit started to get dehydrated because we had been standing so long without water. People started to ask security for water and question why it was almost midnight and Harry Styles had yet to perform.

View from the pit

Nevertheless, the people around me and I kept our hopes up because it was Harry Styles’ birthday the next day, so we assumed that he was waiting until midnight to perform in order to celebrate his birthday. In fact, once the clock hit 12 am fans started to sing “Happy Birthday” when suddenly, the screen in front of us flashed a message saying that the concert was canceled due to extreme weather and that we had to be evacuated.

Announcement telling concert-goers we needed to evacuate
Continue reading My Concert Catastrophe-How to Survive Live Concerts

Gloom and Doom Hits Los Angeles: Resources to Help Uplift Your Spirits

By Rebecca Hu

With the continuation of winter weather (the ever so rare Los Angeles rain and cloudy skies), midterm season incoming, and the drastic changes occurring within our own government, some of us have been feeling a little bit down in the dumps. What was once meaningful activities seem to lose their meaning, the people around you grow distant, and sometimes your outlook on your day refuses to be optimistic. Whether it is because of the winter blues or midterm stress, here are my favorite resources that I use to help uplift my spirits.

One of the easiest go-to’s for me are the people around me. As those around us become busier, I often feel more distanced from our peers and it becomes more difficult to reach out to them. However, this is the first step. A little bit of this is accepting that it is okay to reach out for help, although I acknowledge how difficult this often can be. Another aspect is to know who to reach out to and that it is okay if some do not respond well, because there will always be someone willing to listen. Whether I call my best friend from home, my family, or even reach out to a fellow classmate, it is often nice just to be able to rant to someone and have someone just listen. I try to gauge either who will be patient and is available to listen to me or perhaps, who I know can relate to my problem and can provide me with advice. Even if it is about something as miniscule as the weather or a serious personal topic, I always feel better post this cathartic rant and reinforcing the feelings of community by reaching out to others.

Sometimes, however, it is easier to talk to those who I am not close to and perhaps, professionals. Therefore, I utilize the Engemann Student Health Center at USC and the counseling services that they offer. (Their website for this is: https://engemannshc.usc.edu/counseling/) Whether it is mindfulness training, individual therapy, or a more serious crisis support, they have a plethora of resources to offer students. Most of these services are free (up to a certain point) and work easily with USC Health Insurance! Specifically, in the Office for Wellness and Health Promotion, they have free Yoga and Mindfulness classes that are free and require no registration! Moreover, we have our very own USC Therapy Dog, named Beau.

Continue reading Gloom and Doom Hits Los Angeles: Resources to Help Uplift Your Spirits